Team Rubicon Deploys Drones in Aid of Indonesian Disaster Response

After the magnitude 7.5 earthquake and resulting tsunami of the 28th of September, Team Rubicon Australia deployed a two-person damage assessment team, equipped with #drones / Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), to support disaster recovery efforts.

The TRA team flew to Balikpapan, Borneo, and then to Palu, Central Sulawesi via helicopter, arriving on the 7th of October, one of the few international NGOs granted access, and the only one approved to operate RPAS.

Over the course of the next week the team undertook mapping flights to assess the damage at the worst hit areas in Palu, primarily Talise Beach, Balaroa, and Petobo.

A damage assessment brief was prepared, and delivered to the head of the BNPB, the Indonesian national emergency management authority, Antonio Guterres (UN Secretary General), Kristalina Georgieva (World Bank CEO), and the President and Vice President of Indonesia.

Deployment Statistics

  • 42 missions flown
  • 8h 31m 6s in the air
  • 185km flown (by quadcopters)
  • 1,416 hectares (14.16 km2) mapped
  • 2,223 destroyed buildings identified

About Team Rubicon Australia

Team Rubicon Australia (TRA) is a not for profit that unites the skills and experiences of Australian Defence Force veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams across Australia and around the globe. There are currently Disaster Response Teams in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, with further teams planned across the country. Since its inception in 2013, TRA has sent volunteer disaster response teams to Indonesia (earthquake/tsunami), Queensland (Cyclone Debbie), NSW (Tathra bushfires and Dubbo drought relief) and a Reconnaissance team to the Philippines in the wake of Cyclone Ompong.

Learn more about TRA and how you can support them in their mission